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June 7, 2015

ARC Review: The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreaker Chronicles #1) by Ali Novak

June 7, 2015
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the heartbreakers
ARC Review: The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreaker Chronicles #1) by Ali NovakThe Heartbreakers on April 1st, 2015
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Buy The Book:  Amazon  Barnes & Noble

“When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. Unbeknownst to him, I was the only girl in the world who hated his music.”
Since Cara’s health has been deteriorating, all Stella Walter can think about is trying to cheer her sister up. Her life revolves around Cara to the point where Stella drops out of one of the country’s top photography programs so she can spend what little time she has left with her sick sister.
With Cara’s birthday around the corner, Stella wants to get her the perfect gift. An autographed poster of her sister’s favorite boy band should do the trick. Sounds simple enough, right? But life isn’t always so easy.
Not only does Stella hate The Heartbreakers because of their terrible music, but when she realizes that the cute boy she met at Starbucks is really Oliver Perry, the lead singer of the band, her life seems to spin out of control…
Will Stella be able to swallow her pride and get the autograph that she so desperately needs to make Cara happy? And will Oliver be able to show Stella how to live her own life again?
Meet… The Heartbreakers.

I’m proud of Ali Novak, age 23, for getting her work out there. I adored My Life with the Walter Boys and that’s what got me excited when I saw Ali’s latest release up on Netgalley. I thought to myself, “Boy bands? Cancer? Ali Novak? Sounds great to me!” And it was great in some ways: a cute happy story, a fast plot. But here’s something I can’t deny: nothing in this book truly connected with me on an emotional level. And for me, that’s what makes a story truly memorable: I want the author to play with my emotions through the plot, I want real conflict and real answers. You ask, “Did you find these things in ‘The Heartbreakers’?” And I’d say, “No. And consider my heart broken.” 

Okay, not really. I just have some quips with the novel. First, there is a lot of info-dumping about cancer and cancer operations. There are whole paragraphs with explanations about procedures and cancer types that sound like they come out of a textbook. Cara, Stella’s sister is having all sorts of tests and operations done when these huge info-dumps usually occur. In these moments, I’d personally rather have the writing convey Stella’s thoughts and and feelings about what’s going on, not research and answers to questions I didn’t even have. Another problem I had with the writing was the transitions. Within the same paragraph, Stella would be talking to one of the band boys, and then suddenly, she’s backstage at the end of their concert. The flow of the writing didn’t work when the author started whisking me off in different directions. I also had these problems at the end of some of the chapters, because they’d end really weirdly or abruptly.  I was yearning for closure or something to push the plot along, but I tended to get some awkward joke or sentence instead. Finally, the dialogue felt a bit cheesy and so were some of Stella’s interactions with the band and even the thoughts in her head. It became too sweet and unreal, almost fake.

The plot itself is all three of those words above together. It’s not an original plot, sure, but I was hoping Ali Novak would put her perfect spin on it and give such an unreal situation a dose of reality. Essentially, I wanted her to make pain and real problems come into play, I wanted her to truly challenge her characters especially with the theme of cancer. Either that, or I wanted her to make the story so fun and the characters so awesome that I could ignore the sugary fakeness surrounding this type of plot, and squeal my way through every paragraph. The problems in Stella’s life shouldn’t have even been called problems sometimes: Yes, her sister’s cancer is one (for sure), but dating a famous celebrity from a band and having to keep it a secret? Boo hoo. The stressful choice between attending the college of your dreams or working professionally as a photographer for a huge boy band? Impossible. Stella, I’m sorry, honey, but your problems are even easier than first world problems.

The romance was ‘meh’ and kind of rushed. Too many kissing scenes too fast, too many early “I love yous.” Too many stupid fights and secrets. I just wasn’t impressed with this book over all, especially since Ali Novak charmed me with her first novel, My Life with the Walter Boys. I haven’t lost faith in her completely, but this novel did lower the bar.

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